|Police Officer King Colley|
Baboucar Sey spent his second night at Kanifing police station and he's expected to be returned to the Serrekunda police station today. He is expected to make his court appearance on Monday, according to our source.
According to a source close to the land dispute, a senior member of the Barrow administration called the Serrekunda police station and instructed King Colley to remove himself from the case. King Colley has been the conduit between Global Properties, KMC, Swami India International and the community youth and when everything else fails, his enforcer instincts kick in with threats of unlawful detention as we have seen in the case of Baboucar Sey.
When the journalist arrived at the police station, he found Saul Frazier, CEO of Global Properties and the owner-Manger of Swami India International who is the sub-leasee of the track of land that has now come under national and international scrutiny. They wanted the journalist to agree to convince the community to back down from their demands and when he refused, he was threaten to be charged.
Baboucar Sey faces four charges of (i) conspiracy to commit felony (ii) assembly without permit (iii) destruction of property and (iv) unlawful use of banners. It should be noted that the destruction of property charge is laughable because the journalist was away in Dakar at the West Africa Democracy Radio and thus could not have been associated with any alleged destruction of property.
The fact that the protest (assembly without permit) without permit took place precisely three weeks ago, only to be charged today suggests that the charge is an afterthought and equally laughable. Isn't the same relic of a colonial law that is now being contested by UDP's leader Ousainou Darboe in the Supreme Court? How are these made-up charges any different from what Gambians faced during 22 years of dictatorship under Jammeh?
The Barrow administration must get rid of all these rotten apples. They must be excised from the civil service if Gambia is seen as being serious in ushering in a new democratic environment.
These Gestapo tactics are the same used by the same officers of the Police and the NIA under Jammeh. They must not be tolerated under the Barrow administration. In fact a source said that these charges are not only frivolous but they serve as a ploy to get the young people to back away from their opposition which. according to the same source, is an unlikely scenario because the services of a lawyer is already being contemplated to contest the ownership of the land in court as well as the legality and terms and conditions of the 99-year sub-lease to Swami Indian International by the Kanifing Municipal Council under Mayor Yankuba Colley.
Members of the communities of Bakoteh, Kololi and satellite towns resistance from land grabbers started in 2002, culminating in threats of arrests of young people who are protecting what they believe to rightfully belong to their communities that have been denied of any open space due to mindless urban encroachment, driven more by greed than rational urban development policy.
Land speculators have attempted to bribe the youth and community leaders of the area without success. The communities want the space to erect a market, a football field and other community facilities. They have made it known that they intend to fight the matter to the end, according to leaders of the protest, and no amount of bribe offers will change their collective minds.